How Chelsea players welcomed Edouard Mendy to Club World Cup after AFCON win

Chelsea players have all given first choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy a hero’s reception as the Senegalese returns on the morning of Club World Cup semi-final against Al Hilal.

The Blues, who have never won this competition before, face an Al Hilal side who will be confident of causing an upset after their quarter-final thumping of hosts Al Jazira.

Moussa Marega, Matheus Pereira and Odion Ighalo will all be looking to cause havoc to the European Champions who need to be on their A game if they are to win their first ever Club World Cup title.

Therefore, it was no surprise to see the west Londoners call back AFCON winner Mendy early from his Senegal celebrations that have taken place over the past 24-48 hours in the capital Dakar.

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The Teranga Lions made history under Aliou Cisse on Sunday night when they went against the odds to defeat penalty shoot out specialists Egypt at their own game to claim the countries first ever title in Africa.

Chelsea players at the time showered the shot stopper in praise but it was unknown what part the Blues’ No.16 would play in the Club World Cup, considering the tight turnaround for him since taking the field in Cameroon on Sunday evening.

However, Thomas Tuchel’s assistant Zsolt Low made his intentions clear regarding Mendy’s position in this big competition amid impressive form from Kepa Arrizabalaga, as demonstrated in the Plymouth FA Cup win.

“Mendy will arrive probably later today or tomorrow and we’ll see how tired he is. He has to arrive first, we have to check him and talk to him. We’ll see if it’s possible he plays, maybe,” Low hinted in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

“It’s a good situation for coaches. We have two amazing goalkeepers, we have to decide all the time between two very good goalkeepers.

“Mendy made a fantastic performance to win the Africa Cup and be the best goalkeeper and Kepa does an amazing job with us here. In the last game he saved an important penalty and is in very good shape.

“We’ll have talks with the goalkeeping coaches before making a decision.”

He then went to add on what the former Rennes man has been doing since the famous win for Senegal: “For Mendy it was very important for him and all African players to win the Africa Cup. He’s very happy to do an amazing performance and also very important for him to celebrate with his team-mates and his country.”

Low’s words were correct- Mendy did return on the morning of the Al Hilal game which would suggest that it’s maybe too late for him to start with kick off approaching, but who knows?

Upon his return to Chelsea’s hotel, he was greeted by jubilant teammates who rightly serenaded the 29-year-old with hugs and congratulatory words.

Two moments in particular caught the eyes of the Blues fans who reacted to the video of Mendy’s return on social media.

Antonio Rudiger’s mini bow and Jorginho’s telling look before hugging his teammate was of some notice but Kepa’s face has been picked out by a lot of supporters as the funniest part of the clip that was posted on Chelsea’s official Twitter account.

Here’s some of the best reaction below.

@HappierThanNeve pointed out: ‘Kepa in the background looks sad.’

@CFCNewsReports questioned: ‘Is Kepa happy to see him? Loool. Beautiful scene though.’

@Bodei_CFC tweeted: ‘Get yourself someone that looks at you the way Jorginho looks at Mendy.’

Back on Kepa, @Lunihannn believes: ‘Kepa deserves to start today.’

Who would you select in the first Club World Cup game? Make your team selections below!

On the £72million man’s reaction, @Kofigram sympathised: ‘I’m happy for Mendy, I really am… but lord am I gutted for Kepa. I stand by my statement that he should leave Chelsea. He deserves to be a first choice keeper. Don’t understand how people enjoy seeing him sit bench. I have so much love for both Keepers though.’

Elsewhere, injured man Ben Chilwell also showed up to the club’s hotel to show his support for his teammates as they aim to right the wrongs of 2013.

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